Archives for category: BT Design Team

It’s time to announce another fun project that we’ve been cooking up behind the scenes – this one has been a lot of fun, and I’m so thrilled with the end result!

Today we unveil a set of limited edition Brooklyn Tweed Sweater Cards – the result of a collaboration between the BT Design Team and Vancouver-based watercolor artist Mark Hall-Patch. Each pack contains 15 blank gift cards (with envelopes) and features 5 different commissions artworks featuring garments from our collection archive. Read on for the full story!

One afternoon last winter, when I was surfing the internet on one of my regular inspiration binges, I stumbled across some beautiful, minimalist watercolors by Mark and was struck by their delicate, poetic style. I immediately purchased a small water color for my own studio – a well-loved and slightly tattered Cowichan sweater – and when it arrived in the mail I was delighted to see that the in-person experience of viewing the painting was even more enchanting than my virtual one (as all good art should be!).

For several months I’d been kicking around the idea of finding an artist – be it a painter, illustrator or photographer – to collaborate with on some kind of special project for BT. When Mark’s painting arrived on my doorstep, the idea for these cards hit me like a ton of bricks. I promptly contacted the artist to see if he’d be interested in exploring some ideas.

I was further delighted to learn that Mark – a sensitive & sweet guy, as it turns out – loves collaborating on projects of this nature. Before we even finished our first conversation, we were setting to work on the details. I began by photographing several garments and accessories from the BT Pattern Archive. We then assembled the finished photos and started discussing which designs seemed to group themselves together naturally. Before long, we had landed on five projects, all in varying shades of grey and cream. (Shocking!)

A few months later – after Mark had carefully created each piece – five beautiful watercolors arrived at BT Headquarters, looking even better than I had hoped for.

The paintings are small – worked with tiny brushes and a very delicate hand. My personal challenge was to get as much of the original detail into the reproductions as possible. I also wanted the art to be reproduced in its actual size on the finished cards, so your experience would be as close to holding an original as possible.

So enough story telling – onto the art work! I’ve photographed each of the five paintings below, placing them aside the photos of their inspiration garments (we threw a pair of mittens in  for fun, too).

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I always find it refreshing to shake things up a bit and play around with new ways of experiencing our yarns and pattern designs. This was such an enjoyable process, we’re already on the hunt for some new creative folks to team up with!

Sweater Cards are available today on our web site here (or click any of the images above); each pack contains 15 cards (3 copies each of 5 paintings) with envelopes. Card dimensions are 4½” wide by 6¼” tall (A6).

If you are interested in seeing more of Mark’s painting and illustration work, you can visit his web site here. If you’re interested in any of the patterns pictured, those can all be found on our web site or Ravelry.

The minute September arrives it’s like an internal alarm goes off in my head. I think it must be a knitter thing, because most of the knitters in my life have the same impulse. Despite the lagging humidity of summer, the first month of Fall is here and it’s a change you can feel. We are ready to knit again in a serious way, and savor the perfect mix of color, temperature and light that Fall brings.

Today we celebrate the arrival of Autumn with a brand new design collection: BT Fall 12. This collection marks the one-year anniversary of the formation of our in-house design team at BT and the introduction of two talented new members to that team. I’m very excited to introduce the work of Véronik Avery and Julie Hoover – two seriously talented women who have been a blast to collaborate with. Together with Michele Wang, we’ve been working on this (and future) collections for months, but are thrilled to finally show you our first collaboration as a foursome.

We also bid a fond farewell to one of our original design team members Leila Raabe, who has gone on to to work full time as Operations Manager at BT (don’t worry, we still plan to bug her for a design here and there as her schedule allows!).

BT Fall 12 features wool sweaters aplenty, as well as a handful of accessories that are perfect for Fall knitting. We shot our 18-piece collection on the grounds of a beautiful sugar shack just outside of Montreal, Quebec – quite a fitting backdrop for classic wool knits!

The look book is now available for you to view below (or download the PDF here for viewing on your tablet or device).

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Alongside the pattern collection, we also have exciting yarn news! The mill in Harrisville has been busy this summer, spinning up 15 new colors of Shelter; the expanded 32-color palette of custom-blended heathers now matches that of our Loft line. The new shades are shown below – oh, the possibilities!

I hope you’ll each have a great Fall – and that you find something here to enjoy. We’ve certainly had fun putting it together.

All my best,
Jared

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Resources
: All 18 patterns in the collection are available now as digital downloads on our web site here. Our Wyoming-grown wool yarns are available for purchase here. Download a free PDF version of the Fall 12 Look Book here.

 

I’ve gotten several questions about the Inversion Cardigan from our Spring Thaw collection and thought it would be a great topic to chat about today – both the specifics of the garment’s shape as well as the design process.

Inversion is a 2-way garment, meaning it can be worn right side up or upside down, depending on the fit preference of the wearer or the specific wardrobe context. The photos below show the cardigan on the dress form in both styles. The actual shape of the garment pieces couldn’t be simpler, as you’ll see below. I find the garment appealing both conceptually and stylistically, which is oftentimes a rare combination!

I’m always inspired by Japanese garment design and Origami – the Japanese art of paper folding – both of which were obvious influences as I composed this pattern.


When I’m working with a new-to-me shape, or wanting to experiment with a garment idea before committing to the full-size version of the design, I sometimes knit a half-scale model. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for a performance, or the trial meal you make the night before a dinner party to test out a new recipe (am I the only person who does this?). In the photos below you’ll see the original half-scale version on my half-scale dress form.

I knit the miniature with Shelter in Nest. (Generally it’s a better idea to work a half-scale garment in a yarn approximately half the weight as your target working yarn, but I started this little baby on the road and only had Shelter on hand.)

I’ve included a schematic diagram below to illustrate how the cardigan comes together as 2-dimensional shapes – you might be surprised to note that it’s merely two rectangles of differing lengths attached along their sides. The black circles and curved dotted lines indicate the parts of each piece that are joined to form the armholes. The small hash marks indicate areas that are mattress stitched during finishing.

 

 

You’ll notice that, though the garment is constructed as two rectangles, my pattern is written for three pieces (A, B and C). I wanted Pieces A and B to be perfect mirror images of each other so that the ribbed band that runs up either side (and the ribbed trims at the base) were perfectly symmetrical as the garment is worn. After completion of each piece, A and B are joined along the Graft Line, then Piece A/B and Piece C are blocked separately, to confirm their exact dimensions, before seaming all pieces together. To finish, ribbed bands are worked around each armhole.

The main portion of the garment fabric is simple stockinette, but the rib-like trim pattern is a motif that I’m presently enamored with. It’s a 2×2 garter rib where all knit columns are slipped every other row. The resulting motif is both firm and squishy and makes a great frame for the cardigan. It also lies completely flat, unlike true ribbing, so as not to distort the shape of the garment in any way while worn. (The half-scale version was trimmed with regular rib, which causes some subtle curves to the shapes as a result.)

Due to the slipped stitches within the garter rib pattern, the row gauge of the fabric is substantially different than the row gauge of the Stockinette areas. To reconcile these differences, the wide front bands of Pieces A and B are knit separately from the Stockinette sections (more rows must be worked to get fabric of the same length). These portions of A and B are seamed with Mattress Stitch during finishing (also shown with hash marks in the schematic above.)

It’s a fun design that very much pleases my grid-loving brain and may offer a nice change of pace from more traditional garment knitting, if that’s what your knitter’s heart is craving. The garment’s versatility gives it a throw-it-on-and-go nature that I value whenever buying or making clothing. For those of you who knit this one, I hope you enjoy it!  –Jared

Some classic black & white eye candy from Spring Thaw for you on this Thursday morning…

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Pardon our silence… we’ve been busy this Winter! Our design studio has been a flurry of activity in recent months and we are happy to finally bring you some proof of that this morning!

Spring Thaw from the BT Design Team

Today we’re happy to introduce Spring Thaw: a collection of 17 designs for knitting from Winter to Spring.

When the three of us first started knocking around ideas for this group of patterns, colorwork was a unanimous source of inspiration for all. This was also our first chance to create a collection while having access to the full BT yarn palette from day one. Our initial run of Loft was in production in Harrisville as we completed most of the work for The Loft Collection (November ’11), so our color choices were limited, particularly for any multiple-color designing.

This time, though, we were free to explore and combine colors at will. And so we did.

Colorwork knitters, you’ll find plenty of projects here – both small and large – to keep your stranding fingers busy. That being said, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include a decent dose of cables, lace and stockinette too…

It was quite a mild Winter, especially here in the city. I think most of us are giving up hope for any 11th hour snowfall, especially now that the Spring blooms are beginning to peak through the soil. We thought a collection for this transitional time of year would be a fun idea, and while that was certainly a factor in our design process, we think many of these designs are great for year-round knitting!

We’ve created another of our digital Look Books to indulge you with extended photography of the designs – we hope you’ll steal a couple of minutes today to give it a look! Click “Expand” below to view full-screen in your browser, or click here to view on our web site. (Or maybe a PDF file to take along with you? That’s here.)

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Though it’s warming outdoors a bit, we’re definitely still enjoying our evening knitting. A very happy Spring to everyone, with all our best!

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Resources: All 17 patterns in the collection are available now as digital downloads on our web site here. Our Wyoming-grown wool yarns are available for purchase here. Download a free PDF version of the Look Book here.

The patterns in this collection were created by the members of our in-house Design Team: Jared Flood, Leila Raabe & Michele Wang. 

Yesterday I walked out the front door of my apartment building and got about five steps before I stopped suddenly and realized…. I needed a scarf! For the first time since early Spring, I had an urge to don knits out of necessity. What a wonderful day it was! The second time I walked out the front door I savored the chill and ended up spending much more time out in the city than I have in quite some time.

The arrival of Fall this week (not on the calendar, but in feel) seemed like the perfect timing too, since we’ve been working hard behind the curtain to bring you a collection of designs inspired by this time of year. I’m happy to share with you BT FALL 11, a collection of 16 handknitting patterns.

This season I’m joined by designers Leila Raabe and Michele Wang (you’ve seen work from both of them in our first issue of Wool People). About 6 months ago, I approached each of these women to see if they’d be interested in coming together with me to form an official In-House Design Team at BT. To my great delight, they each accepted and the three of us have been happily collaborating on knitwear ever since!

Though we’ve been at it for a while now, we’re thrilled to be releasing our first group of designs as a team, just in time for the changing of the leaves. As with Wool People, we’ve put together a Look Book for the collection in hopes of giving you a pleasurable aesthetic introduction to the work. You can view it in the space below (click “expand” to view the full-screen version) or on our web site. If you’d like to download a free PDF copy to take along with you on your laptop, tablet, or device, you can get that here.

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We were wooed by all sorts of surface texture as we were designing these patterns. We also wanted to make use of Shelter’s rich palette of Autumn, and create projects of all sizes and time-commitments. We hope there’s something in it for everyone to enjoy – happy Fall!

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RESOURCES: All the patterns in BT FALL 11 are available now for digital download here. Shelter US wool yarn is available here.